When I was a kid in Buffalo, N.Y., the route back to my parents’ house passed a Pontiac dealership with a red Fiero displayed on the corner. I was years away from driving age, but I wanted this car. I was crushed when I learned Pontiac was discontinuing the model, and I told my dad we should just go get one and store it in the garage until I was 16. Get this! A 13-year-old Michigan girl actually did this. She bought a Fiero for the future, and she’s restoring the car herself. This girl is my hero.
Meet Kathryn, who is disassembling the driver’s seat track, rebuilding visors, drilling out door rivets, scrubbing wheel wells and replacing suspension bushings … all while taking a break from soccer. Her dad, who posts about their project on a Fiero forum under the name Michhiker, is proudly sharing her progress and DIY attitude as she restores the car in her uncle’s barn. I won’t add to the the OMG-she’s-a-girl narrative here, but suffice to say a lot of people on the forum seem pretty impressed, even wistful that their sons are not as handy.
Here’s her argument for the car, recounted by her dad:
1. She would like to buy a Fiero because she saw one at a show and thinks they are cool (we are Corvette people, so she has been around a few shows). Fair enough I like GM products and remember the Fiero fondly from my youth.
2. She makes the arguement that it gets reasonably good gas mileage .
3. It is relatively inexpensive, so she would be able to afford it.
4. She could completely restore it in the 4 years until she turns 16 .
5. She would learn about how cars work, it would be a cheap education for the money.
6. She would only have the capacity to take one friend along with her, so there would be less distraction.
7. She wants a manual so she would learn how to drive stick .
8. When it is done it would be a cool historic sports car.
9. She would pay for it all herself.
The family proceeded to buy a Fiero for $450, using Kathryn’s babysitting money, and she set about dismantling and restoring it. She’s been working on it for a little more than a year now, according to her dad’s and her own accounts at the Fiero forum.
Kathryn said this winter that now she’s considering getting another beat-up car to actually drive, just so she can preserve this one. “After all this work, especially on the body work, [if] someone even scratches my paint they will meet my wrath!!!” she writes. “Just kidding but seriously I love my car and it isn’t finished yet.”
You can follow her progress here.